Sixteen year old Carly wants to be a superhero, but when she stands up to a bully, he turns on her and forces her to battle flying hooks, giant thistles, doubt dragons and a suffocating closet. Dylan, a karate-trained nerd who supports her stand, turns out to be a secret admirer, and while he struggles to control his inner caveman, Carly searches for her own way to stop the bully. But will she find it before her knight in shining armour risks all in a battle with a fire-breathing dragon?
And now, an excerpt from You Can’t Shatter Me:
(You Can’t Shatter Me is told from the point of view of both Carly and Dylan. This excerpt is from Cool Kat, one of Carly’s chapters. After struggling with her Maths homework, she runs outside and plays with her cat, called Kat.)
It occurred to me then that Kat existed completely in the moment, thoroughly content no matter what happened. If she needed to fight, she fought. She didn’t sit back and consider how hard it might be. If she needed to sleep, she slept; if she wanted to play, she played. What more did she want? Nothing. Result—one totally cool cat. What did I want? Heaps of stuff. Result—one dissatisfied kid.
I needed to write this a different way. Instead of wanting to be thin, pretty and smart, I should just be happy with what I had and live in the moment like Kat. If I was as cool, calm and collected as she was, I could be a superhero like Cat Woman—without the brain damage, of course. How awesome would that be?
I took a deep breath, exhaled and tuned into the world around me. I watched the pink fluffy flowers nodding their heads, listened to the murmuring of the city and smelt the ocean on the breeze that whispered over my bare arms. Determined to follow Kat’s lead, I stretched out on my back on the bench and soaked up the sun before it disappeared behind the neighbour’s tree.
I close my eyes and relax.
My body softens against the wooden slats. The sun warms the fur on my tummy. I stretch my limbs, extend and retract my claws. Feels good. The dog gives a little bark. Crickets chirp all around. I open one eye and give a half-hearted swipe at a butterfly. Just a warning. Their wings tickle if you eat them.
The world moves around me, but I am still. Simply here. Senses wide open to everything. Nothing stirs in my mind. Peace extends endlessly in all directions. Until a thought flies in, one that requires action.
I jerk awake, twist around and land with all paws on the ground. Nice. Then I lope up the stairs, shake everything out of my school bag and hurl my Maths book into the air. It lands on the desk first time—cool. I jump onto the chair, bat a pencil around for a bit then attack the Maths.
Numerals and symbols run wild across the page. I pounce on a likely looking one, drag it between a couple of sturdy lines and pin it in place. I knock the rest senseless, juggle them around until the right pattern appears, then push them into place and fix them with my mesmerising stare. The first page flips over. I rip into the next one, then the next one and pounce on them again and again until they lie still. Then I sit back and watch. Is it dead? One corner twitches. I check the page, make one correction, then sit back and watch again. This time, nothing moves. I’ve killed it.
I lick my paw and rub it over my jaw, then lick it again and take it behind my ear. Once, twice. Still nothing moves. The homework is done. Dead as a door nail.
I might not be thin, pretty or smart, but I make an awesome cat. And cats can handle anything.
Good writing, Carly.